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A team of Foundation Learning students on the Supported Internships programme at Nescot are celebrating after winning prizes at the Jim Green Challenge last week (13.03.24). They won first place in the Dried Flower arrangement category and one of the interns, Martyn also received the outstanding team member award.

Hosted by the South of England Agricultural Society at its showground, the Jim Green Challenge brought together 120 students and adults with additional educational needs from across Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

Students, Martyn, Beatrix, Kane, Darren, Matthew, Oliver and Lee were delighted to win the award which was presented by the Society’s 2024 President, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Edinburgh GCVO.

The students who all work in the horticulture department at the college, have been planning for the Jim Green Challenge since October. Margaret Hughes, Employability coach and Horticultural Lead for Foundation Learning at Nescot said: “They put in a lot of effort and work sourcing recycling materials from the college’s farm and departments to, construct a model sheep and a self-supporting scarecrow, create wooden toy cars with movable parts, arrange a vase with collected dried flowers and cultivate a variety of spring bulbs in a planter.

“Working together and planning for the challenge has not only given the students an opportunity to showcase their horticulture skills but has also built their confidence and morale. The Jim Green Challenge is well known and great for their CVs. They all work really well and I’m so proud of all of them.”

At the competition, the students had to also undertake practical tasks that involved identifying pond life, plating a window box and de-weeding a flowerbed.

One of the students, Beatrix said, “We had fun doing the Jim Green Challenge. We did a lot of work and came up with lots of ideas. The best bit was making the scarecrow.”

Martyn who won the award for outstanding team member added, “I’m so happy to win the award. I’ve enjoyed working on the Challenge especially building the scarecrow.”

Fiona Kyereme Head of Supported Internship Programme commented, “I am so very proud of our Supported Interns who are on the Horticulture work placement. This is our first time entering the Jim Green Challenge, and to come away with a 1st place in the dried flower arrangement was beyond our imagination. I cannot thank them enough for all of their hard work. I would also like to thank Margaret, their Job Coach for all of her time and effort that has gone into preparing the interns for this competition. It was a fantastic team effort!”

The supported internship programme is a working course that offers students experience of a real work environment. For information on our Foundation Learning courses visit our website.

The Jim Green Challenge is an annual competition designed for students with mild or moderate learning difficulties attending land-based colleges and further education centres in the South East. Organised in memory of the Agricultural Society’s past chairman and founder of its educational outreach programmes, Jim Green, the challenge invites students to take part in both practical competitions and evidence-based project work, all focused around the countryside.